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Common Job-Seeking Mistakes Recent College Graduates Make


If you just graduated from college and are preparing to enter the workforce, consider yourself lucky. According to a recent survey, 80 percent of employers plan to hire recent college graduates, up from 74 percent last year. With job prospects brighter than they’ve been in more than a decade, it should be easy to start the career of your dreams, right? Not exactly. First, you need to nail your interview.

While most employers (82 percent) believe universities are adequately preparing students for their post-grad careers, many graduates lack the job-seeking skills they need to have a successful interview. In fact, the employers surveyed said more than half of the recent college graduates they interviewed over the past year made mistakes that eliminated them from consideration.

Didn’t send a thank you note

It’s important to follow up after an interview. But 37 percent of employers say recent college graduates failed to do just that. Following up after your interview establishes your interest in the position. It’s also a great opportunity to reiterate why you’re the best person for the job.

Didn’t know anything about the company

Thirty-five percent of the employers surveyed said that some recent college grads didn’t research their company before an interview. Huge mistake. You need to find out everything you can about a potential employer.  Not only will it help you decide if the job is right for you, it shows your potential employer that you’re enthusiastic about the prospect of a position with their company.

Didn’t submit a cover letter

While some may think cover letters are antiquated, they can provide real value to employers. Cover letters give hiring managers a glimpse of what you can offer beyond what’s on your resume. A well-written, concise cover letter could be the difference between you and another candidate with similar skills and experience. Though a cover letter should be part of your applications, 31 percent of employers reported that recent college graduates failed to include them.

Didn’t ask any questions in the interview

Twenty-nine percent of employers reported that recent college graduates failed to ask any questions at the end of their interview. Asking questions shows the interviewer that you’re interested in the position and not just looking for any job that will have you. It also demonstrates that you’ve put some thought into your interview and are seriously considering the opportunity.

Didn’t have professional references

References are an important part of the interview process. But 26 percent of employers said that recent college graduates didn’t have any professional references. Though you are looking for your first job after college and may not have an extensive list of references, you need to come up with at least three to share with potential employers. Utilize references from internships, volunteer work, or past summer/college jobs.

Had poor grammar on their resume

Communication is the number one soft skill employers are looking for in a potential hire, and proper grammar is a large part of that. But 26 percent of employers said that recent college graduates had poor grammar on their resume. Properly proofreading your resume will go a long way in your pursuit of a career.

Had unprofessional pictures on their social media profiles

More employers than ever are using social media to screen candidates before they hire them. And 21 percent said they didn’t hire a recent college graduate because of unprofessional pictures on social media. Before you start your job search, make sure your social media profiles are professional and project an image you are comfortable with potential employers seeing.

Checked their mobile phone during the interview

While it’s rude to check your phone in the middle of a conversation with anyone, it is beyond disrespectful to do so during an interview. Still, 19 percent of employers surveyed said they had recent college grads do just that. Show the interviewer that you value their time and give them your undivided attention.


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